Pastor Christian Jennert, Vacancy Minister (May 2022 to Present)
Christian Jennert graduated from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley with a Master of Divinity degree in 2003. He grew up in a small town just north of Hanover, in Lower Saxony, the northern part of Germany. He came to the United States to study theology at PLTS and the Graduate Theological Union in 1999. He was the recipient of the Adelsberger Scholarship for bilingual ministry from St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco. Christian had previously studied at the School of Protestant Theology at the University of Tuebingen where he also worked as research assistant at the Institute for Medical Ethics and History of Medicine.
In January of 2004 he received the call to be the Associate Pastor at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco where he was ordained on Transfiguration Sunday in February of 2004. Christian served 3 congregations in the Bay Area and has been part of “Evangelisch in der Bay Area” providing German-language ministry and spiritual care across the SF Bay area.
Christian left active parish ministry in 2018 to follow another passion of his: travel and aviation. Christian has been working full-time as an Inflight Instructor for a major U.S. airline in Oakland since 2019.
Christian also served as a resident chaplain at John Muir Health during the height of Covid from 2020-2021. When the opportunity came up to serve as the Vacancy Minister at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church during this pastoral transition, he was excited to reconnect with his theological and pastoral experience and provide ministry support to this historic German congregation.
Christian loves worship and music and enjoys teaching adult learners in the topics of Scripture, faith, and theology. His vision for the church is to be a safe and welcoming place where all people can experience God’s love and care for them, and where faith and service go hand-in- hand.
In his spare time Christian enjoys going on road trips, exploring California’s North Coast, drinking a good cup of coffee, and listening to music as well as playing the oboe or some other woodwind instrument. If you would like to reach out to Christian, please send him an email at: [email protected].
Pastor Kerstin Weidmann (2002 – 2021)
The Rev. Kerstin Weidmann was installed as pastor of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church on Sunday, September 14, 2014 in a special celebratory service presided over by The Rev. Susan Strouse, Dean of the San Francisco Conference of the Serra Pacific Synod of the ELCA.
Pastor Kerstin, a native of Delmenhorst (near Bremen) in the north German state of Lower Saxony, has been a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area since 1997. She received most of her theological and pastoral education in Germany, attending seminary at Kirchliche Hochschule Bethel, Georg-August-University of Göttingen, and Westfälische Wilhelms-University of Münster, finishing her studies with a double degree, equivalent to a M.Div. (Master of Divinity) and S.T.M. (Master of Sacred Theology). After moving to California, she fulfilled several requirements equipping her specifically for ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). As part of those requirements, she spent nine months in 2001 as an intern at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco where she was ordained in 2002.
Pastor Kerstin has served congregations both in Germany and in the Bay Area and has gained many insights from being in ministry on both sides of the Atlantic. Since taking her first call to Zion Lutheran Church in San Jose in 2002, she has continuously reached out to the German speaking population of the Bay Area. She established a German language ministry for young families in the South Bay, and offered regular family-oriented Easter and Christmas Services in German in the East Bay. As a German serving as a faith leader in the U.S., Pastor Kerstin sees herself as a hybrid. She is well acquainted with the challenges many German speaking immigrants face as they live their lives in the ‘New World’, including the issue of holding on to traditions and customs from the ‘Old Country’ while adapting to life here.
Pastor Kerstin has a special passion for making a tradition-laden faith accessible to people in a post-modern and ever-changing world. She loves to engage in conversation about life’s joys and challenges and the relevancy of faith today.
In her spare time, Pastor Kerstin likes to travel, hike, ride her bike, read, sing, and take advantage of the many cultural events in the Bay Area. Her husband, Rev. Dr. Fred Weidmann, is a pastor himself and serves at Hillcrest Congregational Church in Pleasant Hill. Pastor Kerstin lives in Walnut Creek with her family, which includes her teenage children Marissa and Jonathan, dog Jake, and cat Khleo.
For a recent article in Pr. Weidmann’s hometown newspaper, go to http://www.weser-kurier.de/region/delmenhorster-kurier_artikel,-Delmenhorsterin-im-Auftrag-des-Vaters-und-des-Sohnes-in-der-Bay-Area-_arid,1032422.html
Angie Holt, Office Administrator (2017 to Present)
Angie Holt started working at St. Matthew’s on Wednesdays and Thursdays as a part-time Office Administrator in January, 2017. Angie was born in the Philippines, migrated to Guam as a teenager with her family and finally moved to San Francisco in 1975. She attended Golden Gate University at night where she obtained her Bachelors Degree in Accounting while working fulltime in AT&T where she worked in the Building Operations Department, Residential Sales, Language Center, and lastly at Network Services. With a long commute from South San Francisco to San Ramon and after 32 years working at AT&T, she took the early retirement in 2012 and thereafter started working at West Portal Lutheran Church as a part-time secretary.
Angie enjoys taking cruises to Europe, fishing, hiking, and cooking. When possible, she and her husband enjoy spending time at their cabin in Graeagle near the Feather River.
Elizabeth Karp, Office Administrator Emeritus (2006 – 2016)
After moving to Hayward in 2006, Mrs. Karp began working on a part-time basis as Office Administrator of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco. Her husband is the pastor of St Stephen Lutheran Church in Hayward. She has two adult children living in Canada. Born and raised in Alberta, Canada, Mrs. Karp received a Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of Alberta. Before moving to the Bay Area, she worked at the University of Alberta, Edmonton in the cataloguing department, as a cataloguer at the Yellowhead Regional Library in Spruce Grove, AB, Director of the School/Public Library in Barrhead, AB, and as a cataloguer for United Library services in Calgary, AB. She has citizenship in both Canada and the U.S. Mrs. Karp retired as Office Administrator at the end of January 2017. Her husband also retired as pastor of St. Stephen.
Andrew Birling, Organist
After David DeAngelis announced that he’s be moving to Chicago, a committee to find a new organist was quickly formed. We were blessed to be able to interview several highly skilled organists and accompanists. In the end, the committee agreed to hire Andrew Birling, who started his position at St. Matthew’s on April 7th. Andrew has been a church musician for more than 20 years and brings a wealth of experience and skill. His journey led him from Wisconsin and Minnesota to California, Oregon, and back to the Midwest. He currently pursues a career as an elementary school teacher in Oakland.
Andrew is not only an accomplished accompanist, but has given many organ recitals during his career. He is also a church music composer, whose work is published mainly through the publishing house of the ELCA, Augsburg Fortress. We feel blessed to have Andrew join the St. Matthew’s family.
David DeAngelis started as organist at St. Matthew’s in January of 2013. He is currently the band and choir director at KIPP San Francisco College Prep High School, which opened in the fall of 2013. Prior to taking that position, he worked at Google in Mountain View, CA and taught music at Lee High School in Marianna, AR. When he’s not teaching, David plays keyboards in the San Francisco based rock band Dangermaker. David received his B.A. in music from Yale University in 2008, where he studied piano under Elizabeth Parisot and played in both the Yale Symphony Orchestra and Yale Precision Marching Band. He completed his Master’s Degree in Music Education at the Eastman College in University of Rochester . He resigned at St. Matthews on March 31, 2019 to pursue his Doctorate Degree in Music Education at Northwestern University.
Nicole Hankemeier-Fahlman, Organist
Nicole Fahlman started out as Kantorin/Choir Director for St. Mattnew’s in 2009. She often provided solo meditations as a vocalist, pianist and flautist while collaborating with the late Gary Hunt. She coordinated hymns and liturgy in conjunction with leading the intergenerational choir during the monthly bilingual and German Christmas services. Her midweek rehearsal time included reaching out to the German International preschool with handbells. During the pastoral interim she coordinated choirs and soloists, often working as liaison between the UGAS choirs and the church council. In 2013, Nicole returned to her love of accompanying and became a floating substitute pianist/organist among Lutheran churches of SOMA dabbling with praise bands to keep her foot in the door as a keyboard musician while teaching herself how to use the organ pedals. Nicole attended San Francisco State and has an Associate of Arts degree from Cabrillo College. She came to San Francisco with over a decade of private teaching and previous music service to the Lutheran and Catholic churches of Watsonville.
Gary Hunt, Music Director Emeritus
Gary Hunt was born in Moorehead, Minnesota. He started playing the piano when he was five and began composing at the age of seven. In elementary school and junior high, he worked on composition and arranging with his band director, Jim Ployar. He attended Concordia College where he graduated with a degree in Theory and Composition. After fulfilling a graduate teaching assistantship at University of North Dakota, Gary and his wife Constance moved to San Francisco. Gary has played piano and trombone with jazz bands, R&B groups, for Chinese funerals, for the circus and in the 49er pepband. He directed a choir for ten years, composing for and singing in the choir as well. He began playing the organ in 1996 and for many years played every Sunday at St. Matthew’s.
He is an avid photographer and has had numerous exhibits of his work around the Bay area. He composed a piece for alto flute for his niece in 2015. He passed away on March 2, 2018. Gary & Constance resided in Vallejo.
Church Council, Chairs and Staff
Dr. William Bremer, President
Mr. Steven Crabiel, Secretary
Mr. Steve Dobel
Mr. Juergen Fehr, Treasurer
Dr. Ulrike Hodges
Ms. Philomena Joseph
Mrs. Dorothy Praeger
Mr. Alois Scholz (on leave)
Mr. Juergen Fehr, Chairman, Finance Committee
Mr. Steven Crabiel, Counter
Mr. Alois Scholz, Chairman, Building Committee (on leave)
Mrs. Dorothy Praeger, Worship Committee Chair
Mrs. Angie Holt, Office Administrator
Ms. Philomena Joseph, Coffee hour
Mr. George Cardiel, Custodian
Want to volunteer?
We rely on our members and friends and their dedication to our church on a daily basis. There are many opportunities to volunteer, including ushers, and readers. For further information on how you can help, please contact our Secretary, Ms. Holt by phone (415. 863. 6371) or by email [email protected]. Thank you!
This post is also available in: German